Southwest Georgia Financial Corporation (NYSE Amex: SGB), the parent company of Southwest Georgia Bank, a community bank serving Colquitt County, Georgia and surrounding regions, announced the results of shareholder voting that took place during the Company’s 2010 annual meeting, which was held on Tuesday, May 25. The shareholders reelected for one-year terms to the Board of Directors Cecil H. Barber, John J. Cole, Jr., DeWitt Drew, Michael J. McLean, Richard L. Moss, Roy H. Reeves, Johnny R. Slocumb, M. Lane Wear and Marcus R. Wells. DeWitt Drew, President and CEO of Southwest Georgia Financial, reviewed the Company’s performance in 2009 and commented on the state of the economy and the financial services industry. Mr. Drew commented, “The financial services industry continued to be impacted by the economic environment that has plagued this Nation, and in particular, the State of Georgia, for more than two years. The recession has subsided; however, there remain persistent challenges to the economy and industry in which we operate. Despite this, we performed well, recording growth of 7.5% in loans and 9.7% in deposits and posting positive earnings each quarter in 2009. For the year, we earned $1.81 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $1.28 million, or $0.50 per diluted share for 2008.” Commenting on asset quality, Mr. Drew stated, “We continue to be cautious during these difficult economic times and are focused on improving our asset quality. Non-performing assets as a percent of total assets for 2009 was up to 1.87 percent, a trend that mirrors the industry. On an encouraging note, this level remains well below our peer group and at a level that is manageable for the Company.” Southwest Georgia Financial’s net interest margin was 4.16 percent for 2009, an improvement from 4.02% in 2008, and significantly higher than the Company’s 2009 peer group average rate of 3.31%. Mr. Drew commented, “Our growth in loans and focus on core funding has fueled the improvement in the net interest margin. We expect net interest margin to feel downward pressure due to the prospect of higher interest rates in the future. To alleviate this, in the latter part of 2009, we began to reposition our balance sheet to reduce exposure to rising interest rates. Those efforts continue, and while there may be some near-term erosion of the margin due to those efforts, in the long-run it will provide us with greater flexibility.”
Mr. Drew concluded by discussing strategic initiatives and the importance of preserving capital in the current banking environment. He stated, “Over the years, we have developed significant sources of non-interest income by entering the insurance business, acquiring a large mortgage banking operation, expanding into Worth County, and more recently, moving into Lowndes County. Our full-service facility in Valdosta should be open in the next few weeks. We consider it more than a branch, we think of it as a hub from which we expect to build a significant presence in that market and further broaden our opportunities for growth.“For the 82 nd consecutive year, we paid a cash dividend, although at a lower rate than in past years. Lowering the dividend payout enabled the Company to have financial flexibility by retaining equity necessary to support our efforts to capture greater market share and expand outside of our historic footprint.” About Southwest Georgia Financial Corporation Southwest Georgia Financial Corporation is a state-chartered bank holding company with approximately $298 million in assets headquartered in Moultrie, Georgia. Its primary subsidiary, Southwest Georgia Bank, offers comprehensive financial services to consumer, business, and governmental customers. The current banking facilities include the main office located in Colquitt County, and branch offices located in Baker County, Thomas County, and Worth County, and a loan production office located in Lowndes County. In addition to conventional banking services, the bank provides investment planning and management, trust management, mortgage banking, and commercial and individual insurance products. Insurance products and advice are provided by Southwest Georgia Insurance Services which is located in Colquitt County. Mortgage banking for primarily commercial properties is provided by Empire Financial Services, Inc., a mortgage banking services firm. More information on Southwest Georgia Financial Corp. and Southwest Georgia Bank can be found at its website: www.sgfc.com. SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT This news release contains certain brief forward-looking statements concerning the Company's outlook. The Company cautions that any forward-looking statements are summary in nature, involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various important factors, many of which may be beyond the Company's control. Accordingly, the Company's future performance and financial results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any such forward-looking statements. The following factors, among others, could affect the Company's actual results and could cause actual results in the future to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements included in this release: the ability of the bank to manage the interest rate environment, the success of reducing operating costs, overall economic conditions, customer preferences, the impact of competition, the ability to execute the strategy for growth. Additional information regarding these risks and other factors that could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from our expectations is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as otherwise required by federal securities laws, Southwest Georgia Financial undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.